Cotswolds Canals Connected

Water

Cotswold Canals Connected

Katrina Martin / 2020VISION

About Cotswold Canals Connected

The Cotswold Canals Connected Project will link the Stroudwater Navigation from The Ocean Railway Bridge at Stonehouse to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal at Walk Bridge near Saul Junction. The Project is approximately 4 miles long consisting of 3 miles of defunct navigation and 1 mile of navigation (the “missing mile”) that will be created from arable and pasture land between Eastington and the A38.

Improved wildlife enhancement and conservation

Restoration of the Stroudwater canal has the potential to make a significant contribution to biodiversity by providing new waterway and adjacent habitats, and by re-forming an important link between habitats along the River Severn in the west and those in the valleys of the Cotswold escarpment to the east. The restored canal will form a linear mosaic of habitats including woodland and scrub-edges, hedgerows, traditional orchards, flower-rich towpath verges and diverse emergent “reedy” fringes. The River Frome already provides this west-east link. Running approximately parallel to it, the canal will complement this and will effectively widen the river valley for wetland and riparian species, providing greater diversity and resilience to future change.

Cotswold Canals Connected is focused on restoring the local environment and creating an array of habitats that achieve a net positive gain for biodiversity. Cotswold Canals Connected is using the canal restoration to link and enhance the natural features and wildlife habitats of the fragmented landscape from Saul Junction to The Ocean, Stonehouse. This commitment has led to the development of a ‘Working with Nature’ strategy.

Cotswold Canals Connected wants to work with nature by:

  • Making the most of the project’s location in a wildlife corridor
  • Keeping knowledge of the state of local wildlife up-to-date
  • Minimising disturbance to wildlife areas
  • Creating new habitats
  • Building best practice in wildlife protection into canal restoration
  • Ensuring wildlife and biodiversity are woven into all project themes
  • Embedding wildlife features in canal design
  • Joining adjacent land to the canal wildlife corridor
  • Partnership working with landowners

Engaging People and Communities

A key element of the success of the Working with Nature strategy will be engaging people and communities in the natural environment and wildlife conservation opportunities created along the canal-river corridor. The Cotswold Canal Connected Project will coordinate a broad range of activities for a variety of interests ranging from spending time in nature for health and well-being to building wildlife habitats and/or being involved in species or other environmental monitoring.

Wildflowers by canal

Wildflowers by canal

Could you help with our canal wildlife monitoring?

Are you interested in seeing and identifying the different wildlife along the canal? Would you like to be involved in helping us get a better understanding of the distribution and behaviour of wild mammals and the factors that affect them?

Well we might have just the activity for you (and it can be done from the comfort of your own home)! The Cotswolds Canals Connected project have recently purchased a number of motion-activated camera traps which have been placed in different habitats along the canal length to capture the wide range of species already living in and adjacent to the canal. Species spotted to date include otters, water voles, badgers, water rail, herons and foxes to name but a few!

The images from these camera’s will be used to help us establish a baseline and monitor any changes in the number, range and abundance of wildlife on both the canal and River Frome as the canal project is delivered.  All the photo’s collected are being uploaded to MammalWeb, which is a "citizen science" platform intended to collate, validate and curate camera trap data to help inform us about the distribution and ecology of mammals.

Not only can you sign up to be a ‘spotter’ on the CCC Project but you can also help classify species across the UK such as the elusive Scottish wildcat…. Linking to MammalWeb will also mean this project will support and be part of wider research on the current state of UK wildlife.